Brushing and flossing are great ways to take care of your teeth. However, there are some foods that can do a lot of damage to teeth beyond any maintenance of toothpaste and mouthwash. Steering clear of these foods and drinks, for the most part, will help you avoid cavities, gum disease and painful tooth damage. At the top of the list are carbonated beverages. It isn’t just the significant amount of sugar that attacks your teeth but also the citric acid that can erode away enamel. In addition, flavor-enhancing acids can also damage teeth and gums when ingested regularly.
Foods mainly made of starch are another group to avoid. Even though bread and pasta might not seem like dangerous foods, they break down during chewing and can easily get stuck in between teeth. While they’re stuck in between teeth or gums, the starch actually breaks down into sugar. The most sensitive and vulnerable parts of the tooth are then exposed to sugar, just like if you drank a carbonated soda. Potato chips, rice, tortillas and bagels are all other examples of starchy foods that can get stuck in teeth and cause problems.
But fruit can’t be that bad right? Think again. Fruits like lemons, limes and oranges are high in sugar and acid. The acid specifically can eat through tooth enamel making teeth more vulnerable to cavities and sensitively. When consumed quickly, most of the acidity of these fruits can be avoided. However, eating these types of citrus fruits before bed for example can allow the acid to eat away at the teeth causing irreparable damage.
Fruit might be full of sugar and acid but what is even worse is dried fruits. Often eaten for their nutritional value, dried fruit actually lacks water, which makes it a healthy choice. Raisins for example don’t have any water and have just as much sugar as a caramel candy. The sugar is highly concentrated and can easily squeeze in between teeth and into divots in teeth causing or worsening cavities. Dried fruit is also full of cellulose fiver that doesn’t break down and instead binds sugars around the tooth.
In addition to carbonated, sugary drinks, starches, citrus fruits and dried fruits, there are other foods to stay away from if you want to take good care of your teeth. Food that makes your mouth dry like popcorn as well as very sticky candy can both be detrimental to teeth and gums. Staying away from all of these foods and drinks as much as possible will help keep your teeth strong and gums healthy for years without lengthy, painful visits to the dentist.